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Pop Goes The Political Culture, Week of October 15, 2018

Pop Goes The Political Culture, Week of October 15, 2018

The 2018 election is November 6! Vote like democracy depends on it!

By Rebekah Kuschmider, MPU co-host

Hello, hello MPU-niverse! Remember how on the podcast last week we were lamenting how it had been a slow news week? Well, we won’t be having that problem again!

This week we saw the Saudi government say that a likely political assassination was actually a fistfight. Mitch McConnell announced his intention to cut Medicare, Social Security and repeal Obamacare if Republicans retain control after the midterms. And now Trump is saying the US will pull out of a Reagan-era missile treaty with Russia on the grounds that  Russia can’t “go out and do weapons [while] we’re not allowed to”.

That’s a real quote. I took it from the BBC. It’s not fake news. That’s how our foreign policy is being articulated in 2018.

We will scream into the void discuss all of this in detail when we convene to record the podcast this evening. For now, here’s all the news that’s not fit to ‘cast!

Viagra Nation: I’ve been on a kick of researching telemedicine options this week after seeing an ad for a telemed app specifically to distribute erectile dysfunction meds. The ad ran during a primetime baseball broadcast so it got an audience like whoa. It’s the same audience that watches all those Cialis bathtub ads every week. This app makes it possible to get the Cialis – albeit not the bathtubs – delivered to your door in discreet packaging after you have a virtual consult with a doc via the app.

Now, there is nothing at all wrong with this. Not a darn thing. It’s innovative and entrepreneurial and there is a slot in the market for it. No one, and I mean no one, is contesting this app.

The thing that is grinding my gears is that there is an equivalent app for people who want to get birth control or emergency contraception but it doesn’t have acceptance of the ED app. First of all, the network of doctors willing to participate in the birth control app is far lower than those willing to prescribe erectile dysfunction meds by mail: the birth control app works in 17 states, compared to 38 for the ED app. Second, the BC app IS getting pushback from conservative forces. There are people who erroneously believe that emergency contraception causes abortions and they don’t want the medication to be easily available.

As I wrote at Medium this week, these same people don’t have an issue with door-to-door boner pill delivery even though 100% of unwanted pregnancies are caused by sperm. Which come from boners. Just sayin’.

As for drugs that actually do induce abortions, getting those via telemed is…well, easier now than it was a week ago. Let me begin by saying that medical abortion (as opposed to surgical) is safe, effective, and recommended for terminating pregnancy before 10 weeks. That means they are 100% legal everywhere in the US. Science even defends prescribing them via telemed, an incredible convenience considering that many people don’t have easy access to gynecological services in their region. But the same people who hate emergency contraception have largely blocked US-based telemed distribution of medical abortion drugs.

Enter Women on the Web, an organization that has been offering global telemed distribution of medical abortion drugs for years. Or rather, don’t enter. Women on the Web has never before shipped to the US because our anti-abortion forces are so virulent that the organizers feared they would shut down their operation entirely rather than let US residents access legal, effective medication to end an unwanted pregnancy. Instead, the founder has created a spin-off operation called Aid Access just for women in the US. That way if American antis shut them down, only Americans are harmed. The rest of the world can carry on as usual.

So that’s the state of sex pills in the US. If you want a hard-on, you can probably get one delivered. If you want to avoid pregnancy, you can maybe get pills for that by app. If you want to end a pregnancy? Call a service outside the country.

Come on…Ted: The only good thing to come out of the Citizens United ruling is the trend of really awesome political ads sponsored by groups that don’t have to watch their language. This web ad from the PAC Fire Ted Cruz and directed by Richard Linklater is particularly amusing.

Speaking of the Midterms: There are only SIXTEEN DAYS until the 2018 election! Early voting is open in many states. Click here for a complete list if you want to find info for your state.

You also need to double check your polling location. Click here to check that info.

Finally, memorize this phrase in the event that you are denied access to the polls once you arrive:


There’s lots more coming on the podcast so look for the new episode tomorrow morning. Until then, have a nice weekend and go tell everyone you know to vote blue!

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